Mammoth Cave National Park, KY - Domes & Dripstones Tour (7-10-14)
Mammoth Cave National Park has quickly become a family favorite. Close enough to be a quick weekend trip away, this unique National Park encompasses the longest known cave system in the world...some 400+ miles once you add up all the caverns and passageways (this is over twice as long as its nearest competitor!). Mammoth Cave was visited by humans long before it ever received its park status...Native American artifacts which date back centuries have been found within many parts of the cave. The first Europeans didn't arrive until the closing years of the 1700's and within 40 years tours were being offered. Competition between land owners grew as owners vied for tourist dollars culminating in the so-called "Kentucky Cave Wars" of the early 20th Century to the detriment of both the caves and visitors alike. Thankfully, in 1926, Mammoth Cave came under the protection of the National Park Service.
This was our second tour to the park as a family, the first of which was a year prior. On our first visit we took in the Historic Tour which, as the name implies, hits on many of the historic cultural aspects of the cave. This time it would be the Domes and Dripstones Tour, a 2-hour walk through some of the most visually dramatic portions of Mammoth highlighted by massive tunnels and dripstone formations, including the famous 'Frozen Niagara' formation. As flash photography and tripods are forbidden and there is very little opportunity to stop and set up a shot most of the pictures in this album are blurry at best. Even so, I felt it still gives a decent glimpse at the incredible beauty of this portion of the cave. So, off for our second tour...it definitely won't be our last!!!